Phoebe30 Jun 2019, 9:04 a.m.
Baby Phoebe entered the world in February 2019.
Up until this point her parents Nay and Gemma had been through a rollercoaster of emotions after being given the news that their little girl little had a rare defect called an exomphalos. This caused her to have a weak abdominal wall, allowing for her organs to be pushed outside of her body.
Phoebe’s case was extremely serious and covered the whole of the abdomen. She would need specialist care at St Michael’s Hospital. There they were told, Phoebe’s condition had worsened: her liver was now outside of her body and with so many risks involved, Nay and Gem were left with the heart-breaking decision of whether to continue with the pregnancy or not.
After having been so excited to fall pregnant they now felt uncertain at their future. But little Phoebe fought on and at her 23-week scan, her exomphalos was showing signs of improving. This positive news gave Nay and Gem the hope they needed. They decided to continue the pregnancy and give their baby girl the best chance of survival.
Throughout this time Phoebe’s progress was closely monitored by the expert team at St Michael’s. Nearing her due date, Nay and Gem still felt nervous at what was to come but on 12 February, they finally laid eyes on their gorgeous little girl.
Immediately after her birth, Phoebe’s liver was fitted with a special bag called a silo. As surgery would put too much pressure on Phoebe’s other organs her liver was suspended above her abdomen to allow gravity to slowly lower it back in safely. This was distressing to see but thankfully the process worked and after another operation, Phoebe’s abdomen was fully closed.
Far from their home in Cornwall, Nay and Gem found comfort at Cots for Tots House. Providing them with a safe place to stay and a bed to sleep in, the House enabled Gem to recharge and be fighting fit to help Nay and Phoebe.
“You don't realise the value of Cots for Tots House until you're forced to use it after the news that your baby is poorly. We appreciate every penny that has been donated so far and our efforts will not stop.”
Phoebe is now back on Cornish soil after making a remarkable recovery. This family’s journey is a testament to their incredible bravery and one resilient little girl’s fighting spirit. Their time in Bristol has driven Nay and Gem to help other families in need, making it their mission to give something back and raise awareness for exomphalos to help others in the same situation.